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11. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/103

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(11 September 1997)

The Commission invites the Honorable Member to refer to the answers given to written questions E-547/96 (1),
E-173/97 (2), E-1419/97 (3) by Mrs Pollack and to oral question H-208/97 during question time at Parliament’s
April 1997 part session by Sir Stewart Clark (4).

At the present time, the Commission is proceeding with the introduction of the agreed statistical tables at
Community level reporting the number of animals used in experiments and is examining the necessity of using
an appropriate computerized system to achieve this task.

The Member States have committed themselves, on a voluntary basis, to implement the agreed statistical tables
by the year 1999.

(1) OJ C 280, 26.9.1996.

(2) OJ C 217, 17.7.1997.
(3) OJ C 373, 9.12.1997, p. 124.
(4) Debates of the Parliament (April 1997).

(98/C 76/204) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2378/97

by Umberto Scapagnini (UPE) to the Commission
(3 July 1997)

Subject: Sicilian Regional Law No 23/90, Article 5

In May 1996, the Palermo Regional Department of Agriculture and Forests suspended application of Article 5 of
Regional Law No 23/90 governing the maintenance of anti-frost ventilators, the treatment of irrigation water and
the heating of greenhouses, pending the Commission’s final communication on the compatibility of the aid
(contributions totalling 80% of the cost) provided for by this regional law with the provisions of Council
Regulation (EEC) No 2328/91 (1).

In 1991, given the Commission’s prolonged silence regarding the decision which had been announced, the
Region of Sicily ordered that the above-mentioned provision be put into effect. Under Article 17 of Regional
Law No 15/93 (which was duly notified to the Commission and gave rise to no objections on grounds of
incompatibility) the whole of Article 5, subparagraph 2, of Regional Law No 23/90 on protection from frost was
replaced. In response to the Commission’s letter of 15 March 1996 and the annex to it, the Region forwarded
detailed reports concerning Article 5 of Regional Law No 23/90 in a note dated 9 May 1996 and on subsequent

In view of the fact that the same frost-protection measures, requiring a high percentage of aid, are provided for
under the multiannual guidance programme and other laws in Greece and could have an impact on the
competition rules but have never been challenged by DG VI and given that the Commission has authorized the
same type of aid, to a level of 75 per cent, for eight regions in Greece (Aetolia and Acarnania, Argolis, Arta,
Achaia, Elia, Corinth, Laconia and Preveza), does the Commission agree that it should, as a matter of urgency,
provide a definition of the compatibility of subparagraphs 2 and 6 of Article 5 of Regional Law No 23/90 to
permit the continuation and finalisation of the projects under way and eliminate the cause of the clear
disadvantage suffered by farms in the frost zones of the provinces of Catania and Syracuse, where water
resources are moreover of poor quality, on whose survival the citrus-fruit economy of the provinces of Catania
and Syracuse depends?

(1) OJ L 218, 6.8.1991, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(28 July 1997)

Articles 5 and 10 of Sicilian Regional Law 23/90 provide for aid for investment on farms covered by Article
12(4) of Regulation (EC) No 950/97 on improving the efficiency of agricultural structures (1) (which has replaced
Regulation (EEC No 2328/91) and must be scrutinized for conformity with that Regulation.
C 76/104 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 11. 3. 98

The measures in question do not respect the conditions set by Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 950/97 as regards
aid rates, maximum investment volumes and sectoral restrictions.

These facts were pointed out to the Region of Sicily in letters from the Commission of 15 March and 30 April
1996 and the regional authorities were asked to notify the Commission whether they intended to amend or repeal
the legislation in question so as to resolve the problems of conformity. The region has however never expressed
any intention of adjusting the provisions in question in line with the Commission's observations, which were
repeated at a meeting with the Sicilian authorities in Brussels on 11 October.

Accordingly the problems of conformity with Regulation (EC) No 950/97 remain and prevent the Commission
from taking a decision under Article 30 of that Regulation.

The Commission has never authorized similar aids for Greece that fall within the field of application of Article
12(4) of Regulation (EC) No 950/97.

(1) OJ L 142, 2.6.1997.

(98/C 76/205) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2381/97

by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Conversion of a Christian church into a mosque in Trabzon (Turkey)

According to reports in the Trabzon local press, the Turkish Ministry of Culture has ordered the church of Santa
Sofia to be cleared in order to turn it into a mosque. Since 1964, the church has been a museum housing
archeological remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.

Is the Commission aware of this development and what steps will it take to oppose a move which has once again
shown Turkey’s disregard for the cultural treasures of other peoples and the religious symbols of Christianity?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission

(4 September 1997)

The Commission has been informed that the Turkish authorities have revoked their decision to convert the
church in question following the investiture of the new government led by Zehranur Yilmaz.

(98/C 76/206) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2382/97

by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Population decline in the European Union and incentives by the Commission

A number of EU countries are currently experiencing a marked decline in their population, a situation that is
particularly worrying in Greece, where the population pyramid has been completely inverted. Given that the
existence of an ageing population has a direct bearing on the security and integrity of each country and that at
present the EU does not seem very inclined to make it clear that any threat or attack against the territory of one
Member State will produce an immediate response from the others, it is clear that each individual country must
take sole responsibility for its own survival, and this depends directly on an increase in birth rates.